I have not spent a Christmas in the Midwest in, I think, 6 years. We’ve made a couple of Thanksgivings, but never Christmas. And normally, come about, say, December 15, I would be a puddle of depressed goo on the ground, just wishing the holiday would come and go already, gah.
I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that, in our old neighborhood, the outdoor Christmas lights and decorations were…scant. In a couple of the houses that had nice, big windows (and superb views of downtown and the bay, luckies) you could see their giant, perfectly decorated Christmas trees. Otherwise, it felt as if we were the only ones who were celebrating that year, with our tiny, fake, very Charlie Brown Christmas-like tree.
The other problem is…it doesn’t snow here. You’d be surprised how quickly a Wisconsin girl will consider 40 degrees to be “really cold”, yet how long it can take that same Wisconsin girl to get used to the idea of “winter” with no snow. I still recall our second year living in California, when we trucked it up to Tahoe in February with some friends, and I secretly spent the entire first day reminding myself that it wasn’t Christmas, even though it was snowing. Not that I ever even liked snow, I so did not! I see the Wisconsin blizzards on the news and think, “hahaha remember when I used to have to deal with that stuff.” Yet somehow my brain still thinks winter equals snow. The human brain is a very complex thing.
Anyway, I don’t know if it’s because enough time has passed that maybe I’m ok with it, or that so very many of our new neighbors have gone all out with their decorations, or that this is the first year Bowie is really starting to understand Christmas, but this year I finally feel like I am home for the holidays. We will be here with just a few friends and family members (and I am used to GIANT family gatherings) but I am, for once, excited about it.
I do miss everyone at home, though, don’t get me wrong. I will still wish on Christmas day that you were here with us to celebrate, but I will have myself a merry little Christmas anyway. Finally.